Toyota’s latest addition to its SUV range, the 2023 Urban Cruiser, has recently been launched in Mzansi. After getting a chance to check it out in and around Cape Town, here are my first impressions on this vehicle.
Looks-wise, the Toyota Urban Cruiser is quite an attractive car. It has a bold and robust design, with a muscular stance that gives it a rugged appearance. The front of the vehicle features a striking grille, flanked by sleek LED headlights that blend seamlessly into the bonnet. The rear is also well-designed, with a high-mounted stop light that sits above the rear windscreen, and a set of taillights that wrap around the corners of the car. They are very distinctive, and look great too as they use also LED technology.
The Urban Cruiser has a high ground clearance and rides on 17-inch alloy wheels, which further emphasises its off-road capabilities. The bodywork is available in a range of vibrant colours, including a vibrant Orange hue that certainly turns heads.
Moving inside, the Urban Cruiser offers a comfortable and spacious cabin that can accommodate up to five passengers. The seats are upholstered in fabric and the driver’s seat is height adjustable, providing a comfortable driving position. The infotainment system includes a 7-inch touchscreen display, with Bluetooth connectivity and smartphone integration. It is Android Auto and Wireless Apple CarPlay enabled. The sound system includes four speakers, and there are USB ports for charging devices.
In terms of pricing, the Urban Cruiser is quite competitively priced, starting at R329 400 for the entry-level XS Manual model. The mid-range XR Manual model comes in at R347 400, while the range-topping XR Auto model is priced at R369 900. These prices are in line with other vehicles in its class, such as the Ford EcoSport, VW T-Cross, Chery Tiggo 4 Pro and Hyundai Venue.
I had the opportunity to drive the Urban Cruiser with both the automatic and manual transmissions. The automatic transmission was a bit disappointing, with slow gear changes that felt sluggish and unresponsive. It only has 4 speeds, which adds to the frustration. However, the manual transmission was much more engaging to drive, with a smoother and more responsive gear change. The Urban Cruiser’s suspension is well-tuned, providing a comfortable ride even on rough gravel roads.
The Toyota Urban Cruiser is a solid addition to the SUV market. It looks great, is competitively priced, and has a comfortable ride. While the automatic transmission may be a bit of a letdown, the manual transmission is a much better option for those looking for a more engaging driving experience.
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